While enjoying our cracked crab lunch, Captain Dale was sailing the Viking Star from San Juan Island over to Orcas Island and our next stop, Rosario Resort and Spa. Along the way, we spotted a pod of transient orcas. More active than the residents, the transients amused us with their breaching and tail slapping. Dale said the tail slapping scared their prey, seals and sea lions, into a panic, making it easier to trap them. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, we never saw the whales capture and kill a sea mammal.
Upon docking at Cascade Bay in English Sound, we walked along toward the beautiful Moran Mansion. In 1904, ship builder Robert Moran had moved to Orcas Island to escape the stresses of shipbuilding, which had caused some health problems. His brothers remained in California to run the business. Robert thrived on Orcas Island, recovered his health, and lived until 1943. His brothers, unfortunately, didn't fare as well. Although much of the mansion is a museum today, parts of it still function as a spa. Part of the charm of the spa is the original pool built next to what was the original billiard room.
The mansion has functioned as the Rosario Resort & Spa since its purchase in 1960. While at the Moran Museum, Christopher Peacock, manager of the resort, treated us to a concert of his piano and organ playing in the Moran music room. He entertained us on a beautifully tuned Steinway piano. Then he went upstairs to the balcony and played the Aeolian organ, which musically narrated a slideshow of pictures taken by Moran. Mr. Peacock finished off by playing music from Phantom of the Opera while showing the silent, Lon Chaney movie of the same name. An effective, moving performance.
The piano and organ are originals with the mansion. The pipes you can see in the music room are just for show. The 1,972 pipes that you really hear are hidden. In addition, the organ is a player organ. Moran used to entertain his guests and make them think he was actually playing when in fact, the organ was playing from a scroll, just like a player piano. However, for our benefit, Mr. Peacock actually played the organ, or so we think.
After the concert, Mr. Peacock invited us to go upstairs and see the double-keyboard organ and also, if we chose, buy his piano and organ CDs.
To fill out our time at the resort, we wandered around the mansion. Downstairs, one of our group stopped by the built-in pool, original with the house. Later, some of us toured the grounds of the house and slowly headed back to the pier to board our boat at 5:30. The view of the harbor from shore with fog-capped hills in the background made a idyllic panorama.
Returning to Friday Harbor
We then sailed out of Cascade Bay and headed back to our motel and spa in Friday Harbor. Along the way, we indulged in some whale watching, looking for seals, and scanning for eagles. On the bridge of the boat, the captain had several sets of binoculars, which helped our search since most of us hadnít thought about bringing our own. As the fog thickened again, visibility dropped. So, we had to find other means of amusing ourselves on the ride back. Some decided to read, some to catch a nap, and others found more intellectual pursuits, as you can see:
Some of the Finest Minds in Mature Friends Solve Crossword
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